As the world advances in technology, connecting and keeping in touch with friends and family has become far easier. We can connect with friends and family across the country or hold virtual meetings with colleagues using FaceTime and video conferencing. Different branches of medicine have been impacted and adopted by the same technologies. One of such is Teletherapy.
Teletherapy, often known as "online therapy," is a type of treatment over the telephone or the internet. Many therapists are adding online health support into their practices as videoconferencing software advances. Both the client and the therapist may find teletherapy to be beneficial. The many research indicates that it is as effective as in-person counseling.
What is Teletherapy?
Teletherapy is a branch of telemedicine used in counseling and therapy. Teletherapy is a term that refers to treatment that is provided using technology such as video conferencing. Therapists can work remotely with their patients as they provide online therapy sessions, establish methods and new practices.
Teletherapy can be used in a variety of ways, including conducting therapy sessions through phones, conducting group therapy treatments in group chats, adopting video conference features for both group and individual therapy, providing therapy treatments through emails and chat apps to connect patients with therapists.
How Teletherapy Works?
Teletherapy sessions are similar to traditional therapy in terms of how they work. Patients schedule a live video meeting with a therapist on their own. Patients should plan and prepare for their virtual sessions in the same way they would for an in-person consultation.
Other forms of therapy can also be delivered through teletherapy; this includes counseling for groups, families, and individuals. Patients can use videoconferencing technology to gather in groups, as a family or pair, to participate in therapist-mediated sessions, similarly as they can for single online therapy. These meetings work just as though everyone is all in the same room.
Teletherapy for Toddlers and Children
When children are in the same room or setting, caregivers may struggle to keep young children focused, responsive, and involved in the session. Telehealth sessions with children make this work considerably more difficult because the provider's control over the environment and the emotional impact of their presence are reduced. Children can easily lose focus when the caregiver is only a figure on a screen.
However, even young children can benefit from online sessions. A growing body of evidence suggests that telehealth and behavioral therapy for children are just as beneficial as in-person treatment. To keep young children engaged and active in the session, caregivers simply need to modify their engagement method slightly. Here are two key strategies that many providers do to keep kids engaged during virtual sessions.
Compensate for Technical Limitations
Behavioral health consultations with children can be significantly more "active" than with teenagers or adolescents, depending on the child's age and behavior. Young kids love to move around, explore their surroundings, and play with things in the room, especially if play-based learning aspects are used in the session. While these behavior patterns are not necessarily a problem during in-person consultations, they can be distracting when the therapist can only see the child from their screen. While trying to make up for these technical limitations, the simplest solution is to:
Decide On the Best Camera Angle
If the consultant is interacting with the child via video chat, the provider should work with the child to select the appropriate position of the camera before the session begins. The area where the child is likely to interact or play should be visible to the therapist.
Exercise Patience and Prepare For Technical Difficulties
Providers can avoid stress by realizing that no virtual session with a child will go perfectly. Instead of growing agitated, they reply with patience.
Request That the Children Demonstrate and Explain What They Are Doing
Even with the measures listed above, there may undoubtedly be occasions when the provider cannot see the child completely during the session. Rather than pointing out the camera's positioning, have the child carry objects to the screen or verbally describe what they're doing.
Enhancing Virtual Session Engagement
Because the therapist and the child are not together in the same space, establishing connections and keeping the child's attention might be a little more difficult. To keep children engaged and active during the session, therapists will need to modify some of their approaches. Here are some tips:
To Develop Relationships, Try A "Scavenger Game" Exercise
When interacting remotely, this can be a little more difficult. When the provider's first encounter with a child is virtual, they may choose to initiate a "scavenger hunt" game, urging the child to search their favorite playthings telling them about them. The children will be delighted to showcase off their toys and possessions.
Communicate And Guide More Verbally
A substantial level of nonverbal engagement can occur during in-person consultations with children. To determine what the child is thinking and experiencing, the therapist could engage in various activities with them. Because this isn't always possible in virtual meetings, the therapist may have to focus on oral communication as well as guiding and coaching caregivers during the sessions.
Amplify Your Non-Verbal Cues
Nonverbal communication also has a role to play when it comes to virtual meetings. Inflection can be used to direct children’s attention towards certain things, and facial expressions can express emotions or encourage them to take a certain action. However, when engaging virtually, the providers may need to accentuate nonverbal signs so that children can catch them up more easily.
Benefits of Teletherapy
Today's kids use computers and other electronic devices like video interactions and virtual learning. Teletherapy is very kid-friendly since it makes use of entertaining and engaging digital technologies.
Teletherapy allows parents or other guardians to remotely check in, view the session, and monitor the child's progress.
Teletherapy is less frightening and less invasive than traditional face-to-face therapy. Shy and quiet children especially can benefit from it.
Online sessions can be done from the comfort of the home or school.
Although teletherapy sessions with toddlers and older children can be challenging for healthcare providers, with the right approach, the sessions can produce productive and effective results as the in-person session.